What does warm up involve and how does it help the body to prepare for fitness training? There are certain movements like light jogging, walking, stretching and stretch and then hold, which help to raise the body’s core temperature. Warming up is important because if you try to exercise when your body is ‘cold’ you will suffer poor flexibility and mobility, some stiffness and prone to injury.
When you warm up you increase the body’s flexibility and strengthen the muscle joints. To increase your mobility you can try doing push-ups, kicking a football, or doing bicep curls. For getting flexible you should try arm extension and flexion, hip extension and arm rotation.
Types of warming up exercises
Different people have different ways to warm up. A power-lifter does not need to warm up like a marathoner though some similarities may be there. For cardio endurance, a dynamic warming up is required – like dynamic stretching. This involves very active movements, similar to what your workout involves. Other warming up exercises could be bodyweight squats prior to adding the weights, or a brisk walk before running.
Another popular warm up exercise with your gym instructor is the dynamic exercise warm-up. Techniques like foam rolling and practice movement help to align the gears – i.e. the joints move all at one time, rather than moving all together. This movement is progressive and helps to loosen up and stretch the body muscles. Exercises in the dynamic warm-ups include toe touching, high knees and walking lunges.
Stages for warming up
- You need to warm up and loosen your muscles and joints. Foam rolling is a good way to start as it involves movement of the glutes, legs and hip flexors.
- Next you should warm up the muscles with increased thumping of the heart. This helps to switch on the nervous system. You can ride a bike, jog or go rowing to achieve this warm up.
- You need to do some dynamic stretches. This involves continous movement of various exercises. E.g. You can forward kick your legs, make big circles with your arms, or just touch your toes and reach upwards. In no way should hold any of the above positions.
- Whatever exercises you have planned for a particular day, you should go through them with a lesser intensity. If you are going for a long run, first warm up with some technique drills. For back squats you could start by doing bodyweight squats or holding a bar that is empty. This type of practice helps muscle memory and prepares the body impending action.
Every person may require a different type of warm up before fitness training. It all depends on your level of fitness and the goal you are looking to achieve. But you need to make a start somewhere, so make a start by following the above mentioned stages for warming up. They will certainly help you to increase your mobility and strengthening of the muscle joints. Just remember that warming up will prepare your body for any planned activity and intense movement.